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The Cat and the Canary (Special Edition) (1927)

Laura La Plante , Creighton Hale , Paul Leni  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley, Tully Marshall, Gertrude Astor
  • Directors: Paul Leni
  • Writers: Alfred A. Cohn, John Willard, Robert F. Hill, Walter Anthony
  • Producers: Paul Kohner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Silent, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006L0LMA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,775 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Cat and the Canary (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Newly revised and re-recorded score by Erich Beheim
  • Newly composed score by Franklin Stover featuring the scary short "Haunted Spooks"

Editorial Reviews

In this frightening all-time cinematic classic and blueprint for all haunted house thrillers, the reading of a will at the estate of old Cyrus West coincides with the arrival of a clawed killer in black ready to pick off the greedy relatives. Utilizing great technical craftsmanship, this witty, suspenseful and stylish treat weaves a stark vision of terror that's just as thrilling today! Digitally Remastered Special Edition with spectacular image quality.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The 1922 play THE CAT AND THE CANARY was so popular that it made the fortune of author John Willard, who lived to see it filmed no fewer than three times before his death in 1942. Even today the story remains a classic of its kind, inspiring a host of films that mix comedy, mystery, and horror--not to mention still more that focus on suspicious doings in old, dark houses. When questioned by author Gavin Lambert, director James Whale very specifically indicated that the 1927 film version, along with the 1928 THE LAST WARNING, influenced his own work in such films as FRANKENSTEIN and THE OLD DARK HOUSE.

Both THE CAT AND THE CANARY and THE LAST WARNING were created for Universal by director Paul Leni. But while THE LAST WARNING is not presently available to the home market, THE CAT AND THE CANARY most certainly is, and even some eighty years later is possible to see what all the fuss was about. In term of cinematography, CAT is a remarkably imaginative film, using a series of over-lapping images, close-ups, and dissolves to astonishing effect. In a visual sense it is easily one of the most stylish films of the silent era.

The plot is a classic of its kind. Like the original Willard play, the film's story mixes a host of already-cliched ideas with several then-new ones. Today, of course, it can be a bit difficult to them apart! But even so it remains a fair amount of fun. An eccentric millionaire has been hounded to death by his greedy relatives--and when he dies he leaves behind a will that imposes a twenty year waiting period between his death and delivery of his estate to his heir. But who will the heir be? The candidates assemble to hear the will at midnight... and no sooner is the heir named than strange doings are afoot.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Marvelous. October 9, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The close of 2007 is an exciting time for silent film enthusiasts. A number of restorations of big name silent titles are still scheduled for release by year's end including BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, NOSFERATU, THE IRON HORSE, and THE JAZZ SINGER (which despite its reputation is more silent than talkie). So far PANDORA'S BOX, TRUE HEART SUSIE, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, and THE CAT AND THE CANARY have appeared with the last named being the winner in the restoration sweepstakes so far.

Considering previous versions of the film, this is the best looking one I've seen since METROPOLIS in 2003. The picture quality is outstanding (thanks to 35mm nitrate source materials), the film is complete (even the original Universal biplane opening is there), and the new score by Neil Brand fits the visuals perfectly (something which has not been the case in a few recent releases). Britain's Photoplay Productions remains the premiere restoration outfit in the business today not only because of the knowledge of people like co-founder Kevin Brownlow and the cooperation between various archive sources but also because of the additional funds they seem to have available to do the job right. We'll see how the others look once they're released but they'll be hard pressed to beat this one.

For those who have never seen it, THE CAT AND THE CANARY is the prototype old dark house film mixing murder, mirth, and mayhem with outstanding visuals and wonderful performances from all concerned. This new version allows you to see the film as audiences in 1927 must have seen it and gives you the opportunity of experiencing a silent film first hand. The print isn't perfect but it's darn close and as I mentioned earlier Neil Brand's score is an absolute delight.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chiller-Diller Masterpiece! October 27, 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Okay, so this is one of those ancient SILENT flicks, made back in that prehistoric year of l927. But I can promise you, anyone watching The Cat and the Canary today will not be bored. You see the amazing dexterity of the camera (Gilbert Warrenton was the camera man), the inspired direction and production (Paul Leni), the wonderful cast of long-gone Hollywood stars (Laura La Plante, the Sandra Bullock of her day)and Creighton Hale and gorgeous Gertrude Astor (she was considered the best-dressed star of the Roaring Twenties). This movie is so old that it now fascinates. You see the delightful and creative use of titles (some of them streaming down from the top of the screen to the bottom like a ghost)and wish that EVERY silent movie had been preserved and available today for movie addicts. "The Cat and the Canary" was considered one of the great lost masterpieces until someone actually discovered it in a salt mine in Montana (there must be something about salt mines, Parisian attics, Soviet vaults, since so many of our lost movie treasures are usually found in such esoteric locales). This wonderfully fun, zany and sometimes chilling masterpiece is head and shoulders over yet another long-lost masterpiece, the primitive talkie "The Bat Whispers" (1930), also discovered in some warehouse in Russia. The photography on this chiller was also spell-binding but the story is so dated and badly conceived that only the most die-hard early talkie junkie can endure it (I survived it but talk about being dissapointed). Watch "The Cat and the Canary" (1927) and be whirled back more than 65 years in Hollywood's Jazz Age to see what magic was pouring out of the studios. IN many ways, they were a vast improvement over l999's idea of hits: Armageddon, Godzilla (please God, let them sink into oblivion).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not bad for a silent film.
Published 2 days ago by Mary Jaeger
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
only got that rating because I did not finish the movie
Published 3 days ago by Ms Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars Humor and horror
A good combination of comedy, well played by the actors, and German-influence shadows and hallways. It kept me interested and caring about the characters throughout.
Published 1 month ago by D. McNulty
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic
Once you get past the fact that this is a silent movie, you'll rather enjoy it. Funny parts mixed in with suspense made this an entertaining watch on a boring evening! Read more
Published 1 month ago by D_F2302
5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Film of Cat and the Canary --Silent
This is an excellent film. It has drama and comedy both. The players were excellent. The plot was lots of fun!
Published 2 months ago by Janice K.
1.0 out of 5 stars silent film
I didn't realize that this is a silent film. I have no patience at all for reading while watching a film. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Desiree Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars Down Nostalgia Lane
This 1927 silent film is the forerunner of later comedy horror films. Captions are provided but don't cover a lot of the dialog. Read more
Published 4 months ago by P. B. Sharp
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderful design
This old chestnut has wonderful, over the top, expressive design, and lets us see where all those "old dark house" movie cliches come from from when before they were... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Arnold A.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun To Watch
Even though this is a silent movie, I enjoyed it and got some laughs out of it. In my opinion it was well done for the era. I would watch it again.
Published 4 months ago by Thomas T. Burnett
2.0 out of 5 stars Silent Movie - Rather Boring
The first thing that you should know is that this is a silent picture. For anyone too young to know what that means, it has no spoken dialog, only a music soundtrack added long... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lion
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